Have you ever wanted to create a cartoon design of your own? I’m a fabric artist so I frequently come up with my own designs with no particular source of inspiration.
First, let’s clarify the word cartoon. I’m not referring to drawing cartoon characters although the word is the same word. My use of the word cartoon is more in the sense of a pattern drawn on a large piece of paper (usually 18″ x 24″).
There are many ways to practice turning on the creative juices. It always starts with a blank piece of paper. Now instead of deciding to draw anything in particular, I just pick up a pencil or pen, place the pencil on the paper somewhere and let the flow begin.
One technique is to draw a rectangle somewhere in the middle of the paper. Now you have certain defined spaces to fill with straight lines, curvy lines, groups of lines, shapes, repetition of shapes or free flow.
The center space can be filled with circles of various sizes, a simple leaf design or triangular shapes. Shapes can be repeated in various ways by changing the sizes of the shapes. The outside space around the edge of the paper can also be filled with similar shapes or just drawn curvy lines or straight lines.
At this point, I don’t think about placement or an actual design, just let the process of drawing take place.
After you have created some shapes and lines, begin using colored pencils or crayons to fill in these spaces. Use three colors to start with, use three colors that you really like. Then add variations of these colors, lighter and darker, softer and brighter. You would be surprised what can happen in this process.
These images that you’re creating are mostly abstracts but if you really like flowers and leaves, draw flowers and leaves. Just do very simple drawings with simple color schemes.
As you practice the above techniques, it will be easier and easier to draw designs starting on an empty page. The page is your canvas, it’s there to serve you, so let things happen. If you love the color purple, use only shades of purple, then add a little black here and there, with some soft greys.
Once you get comfortable with the process of creating designs, begin to look at the overall balance of the various elements you have created. Could they be smaller, larger? Could they be placed in a different area of the paper and have a greater visual impact? Could you add a bright lime-yellow to make the other colors pop?
Another technique is to take an abstract drawing you’ve created, cut the paper in strips or any kind of pieces you want, then re-assemble the drawing in a new way. Look at the overall effect. Do you want the shapes to pop? Do you want the colors to be more dominant? Does your design have energy and flow to it? What do you want to convey with your drawing?
Practice the above process as often as you can. I try to draw something on a daily basis and a lot of times I do this late at night before going to bed or early in the morning before my busy day begins. Find a slot of time for your creative juices to begin blossoming. I really believe that becoming creative (in whatever medium you choose) requires practice, practice, practice. Soon you will find your inner voice and direction for your art to express itself.
Happy sketching! Take time for you! Good Luck!